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Unregistered
10-12-2002, 05:34 PM
I’ve been around long enough to see many new waves of beginners where I train. This is the same place that I first began my training, and I remember those first few months very clearly. It seems we were held to a completely different standard then, than the new people are now. My instructor drilled etiquette and discipline into us. Once we had reached a level where we were performing a technique with a good understanding of the mechanics and started to speed it up, though he never verbalized it, he expected you to work through pain and exhaustion, as long as you remained conscious of your level of safety. You attacked whole-heartedly, were thrown, and got right up and attacked again, with no lag in between – no stopping to fix your gi; if you were rounding the mat in shikko, and you began to breathe heavy and feel your quads killing you, you KEPT GOING; no uncommitted, crappy attacks; talking was kept to a minimum, and if you did talk, it was while you were throwing or being thrown. This kept a fairly high intense level of practice, which I absolutely loved, though I am not at all a disciplined person, and the constant movement was very tough on my out-of-shape body. Still, I worked through it, and am all the better for it.

However, I find he is not keeping this standard of discipline with the newer beginners (not meaning first few week newbies, but those who have been around several months). I practiced the other night with one of the people who has been around for a while, but we don’t usually end up paired together. While I was noticeably more tired than he (unless he just doesn’t show it outwardly), I got right up and was ready to attack again, while he fiddled with his gi, paced the mat a little bit, and stopped to think after every throw. What I want to know is, as time goes on, do instructors find that they have to become much softer and hold their students to a lower standard of discipline to keep them around? When I started, my instructor was fairly new at teaching, so I don’t know if he just figured after a while that to keep students you have to ease up. However, my problem is that it changes the whole feel and dynamic of practice in the dojo. Where it used to be a session where you walked away exhausted but happy, it is now more of an unsatisfied feeling. I’m just a bit worried about where this will end up going.

I don’t know my actual point in posting this – maybe it was just to vent, but any advice or instructors’ experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Deb Fisher
10-12-2002, 06:26 PM
If you are unsatisfied, you have two options. Either you can find another situation that satisfies you, or you can find what is satisfying in your current situation, perhaps by talking to your sensei, but also by trying not to smear your past experience and expectations all over the training time in front of you today.

While I totally understand the urge to talk about Why Something Irritating Is Happening, I'm not sure it's ever done anything but prolong my unhappiness.

giriasis
10-12-2002, 07:01 PM
The other night I had a practice partner stop and watch everyone else train. He starts asking a lot about the technique and such. He just kept prolonging his turn to take ukemi. What I noticed was that he was feeling anxious about the ukemi, and was just thinking about it too much. I just told him, "you're thinking to much about it; just do it." Well, then he did and we got back to usual practice.

While this might not be the exact situation, I realized as a more senior student, me 3rd kyu and him 5th kyu, I had to take the lead and redirect him. I know from my experience how thinking too much about a technique will keep me from doing the technique. The same with you. If your training with someone newer than you, you can encourage them to push themselves. Redirect them, and be a leader to them.

Sensei can't watch everyone every single minute but they can rely on the other senior (or more senior than new students) to help create the atmosphere. Train as you would like to train and lead by your example.

Other than what you can do personally, maybe you can iniatiate a conversation with your sensei about his teaching philosophy so you can understand where he is coming from better. You won't know what his reasoning is unless you find out.

opherdonchin
10-12-2002, 10:21 PM
How can you tell whether it's the beginners that have changed or your perspective? Perhaps your standards have gotten higher as you've improved. I'm not saying this is necessarilly so, of course, just suggesting the possibility.

mike lee
10-13-2002, 05:10 AM
My instructor drilled etiquette and discipline into us. Once we had reached a level where we were performing a technique with a good understanding of the mechanics and started to speed it up, though he never verbalized it, he expected you to work through pain and exhaustion, as long as you remained conscious of your level of safety. You attacked whole-heartedly, were thrown, and got right up and attacked again, with no lag in between – no stopping to fix your gi; if you were rounding the mat in shikko, and you began to breathe heavy and feel your quads killing you, you KEPT GOING; no uncommitted, crappy attacks; talking was kept to a minimum, and if you did talk, it was while you were throwing or being thrown. This kept a fairly high intense level of practice, which I absolutely loved, though I am not at all a disciplined person, and the constant movement was very tough on my out-of-shape body. Still, I worked through it, and am all the better for it.

This is great! This is just the way aikido should be done. Unfortunately, the conditions are not always there. So, what can we do? Maybe try to re-create the conditions. How? That's up to you -- But here's one suggestion.

If the regular practice is too low an intensity, try to arrange a brief, but intense after-practice session of about 20 to 30 minutes with a few of the gung-ho people. With three to six (or so) people you can play a fun little game called follow the leader. The top-ranked guy gets in the middle of the mat and the others line up and attack. When he goes through all of the people, the next guy does the same waza -- usually some kind of kokyu-nage; fast-paced -- go, go, go; breath, breath, breath; aerobic. Work, work, work.

After everyone gets a turn, the leader changes the waza. Watch, learn, go, go, go.

Don't give up the dream. :ki:

Anat Amitay
10-13-2002, 08:44 AM
Hi there,

I'm just thinking of another reason that might bring you to the feeling that the training pace has slown down.

Since I'm not a teacher in aikido, I give my example from other 'new leader situations'.

It could be that your sensei, when he started teaching you, was new to teaching (if I understood you correctly). This situation sometimes makes people act more as an officer (no ill meanings). But since they are not used to standing infront of a class and teaching, they need some sort of authority means to help them keep the distance of- I'm the teacher, you are my students. It's usually because of nervousness. As time goes by, as the group is more stable and a strong central group if formed, they get more comfortable and ease up. This is the stage where you feel things are getting slower.

If you are feeling that there is a change, you should go and talk with your sensei, tell him what you feel and see if he was even aware of this happening.

Maybe you'll give him/her an idea of where and when to put more emphasis on.

good luck!

Anat

Deb Fisher
10-13-2002, 07:34 PM
Anne-Marie Giri wrote:

" I realized as a more senior student, me 3rd kyu and him 5th kyu, I had to take the lead and redirect him. I know from my experience how thinking too much about a technique will keep me from doing the technique. The same with you. If your training with someone newer than you, you can encourage them to push themselves. Redirect them, and be a leader to them."

Wow, good advice. That makes a lot of sense to me.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-13-2002, 07:47 PM
Anne-Marie Giri wrote:

" I realized as a more senior student, me 3rd kyu and him 5th kyu, I had to take the lead and redirect him. I know from my experience how thinking too much about a technique will keep me from doing the technique. The same with you. If your training with someone newer than you, you can encourage them to push themselves. Redirect them, and be a leader to them."

Wow, good advice. That makes a lot of sense to me.
I have had some success at helping shake people out of thought-paralysis, but I've never had any success in putting a fire under the ass of other students who just seem to have lazy, tired energy. I recently visited my old dojo and trained with people I hadn't seen in a couple of years. Lo and behold, a few of the students who always had a leaden, slow-mo disposition back then seemed to be in exactly the same place now, despite the fact that they have been promoted in rank and had ample time to work on their attitude and fitness levels. I think example and contagious enthusiasm only goes so far - some people are just sluggish perpetual tourists in their own lives and no amount of cajolery can help them...

giriasis
10-13-2002, 09:36 PM
Deb, thanks for the compliment.

You're so right Kevin. In the end, we can not make people change who they are, but we can choose to act as we expect others to. Besides talking to his (or her) sensei about the change of pace, that is about all Anonymous can do.

I think you can increase the pace your training though, by you not stopping and do your techniques 1, 2, 3, 4. Obviously you have to take your partner's skill in mind but I think you can push them as you train with them. As more senior students we can guide and redirect the newer ones but that is all.

I'm not expecting any overnight changes, but a change as to re-creating the atmosphere. I'm really talking about what can be changed rather than what can't be changed. It's about knowing your boundaries and knowing what you can change rather than flailing around over those things you can't.

mike lee
10-14-2002, 03:20 AM
Besides talking to his (or her) sensei about the change of pace, that is about all Anonymous can do.

Wrong, wrong, wrong! Lay down and die? No way!!! Anonymous has an infinite number of possible courses of action.

Suggestion No. 2: He could turn his garage into a dojo and hold a private training session on Saturday morning with his gung-ho friends. :do:

Bruce Baker
10-14-2002, 06:42 AM
Or, our anonymous user can meet the immovable force that seems to be slow but no matter how you try, you gonna fly...

There is a core thought about beginning teachers that says, " I am going to give my best to these students, and they will be the leaders for me tomorrow." This translates into a faster, longer practice that puts a fire under some students, and some leave.

Those who survive the experience feel like they have been throught boot camp ... and in a sense, they have.

The next lesson for the student is to learn to be patient with new students, and not be overconfident. Someplace, sometime, somewhere you will meet either a teacher or a student that is not what you would like to be the ideal Aikido model, and he/she will wipe the floor with you.

At that point, you will have learned the lesson of patience, and not being full of yourself because you can practice faster, longer, and harder than other students.

Your expectations are for you, don't force them upon others.

Although it is nice to always train with others who have skills you would like to learn, patience must also be learned.

I am sorry that I have to use this statement of, "Been there, done that, move on." but it does apply is this case.

SeiserL
10-14-2002, 07:24 AM
Aren't you glad you got the disciplined version? Show some compassion for those that have gotten less.

Sometimes, IMHO, the Sensei teaches at the level the student can learn. There is a whole "entitled" generation who do not have the work ethics many of us older people/students got. Without discipline, their technique/waza may never be as good.

They may be only studing Aikido as a leisurely hobby, not Budo. Some Sensei's recognize that and hope out of a lot of students, they will find a few who want the Budo too. Ultimately, it is your Sensei's choice how to teach, not yours.

IMHO, pay more attention to your own training and less to others.

Until again,

Lynn

giriasis
10-14-2002, 02:11 PM
Wrong, wrong, wrong! Lay down and die? No way!!! Anonymous has an infinite number of possible courses of action.
Whoa, boy!

Mike, I did not say that he has to lay down and die. Where did I say that in my post? Did you even read the rest of my post after the quote? I put that there for a reason.

To reiterate...

My point was that his problem is with his sensei and wants to change his sensei's ways. The first step is to understand where his sensei is coming from. It is up to the sensei to listen to him and decide whether to change the classes, but that is NOT something Anonymous can do.

Your example describes what Anonymous can do to change his OWN behavior. Yes, these options are infinite. But he can't do much to change his SENSEI'S or FELLOW STUDENT'S behavior. That is what I'm talking about. He can't change other people, including his sensei, no matter how hard he tries. The option to change others is not infinite

This is about learning what one's boundaries are and what one really is empowered to do and has the capability to do.

I agree with Lynn, one really should be focused on their own training rather than others.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-14-2002, 06:45 PM
Unfortunately, it can be hard to focus on your own training when you are paired with a sluggard who insists on sitting down to take a breather half the time, or who moves like someone scraped out their insides and filled their body with lead shot.

mike lee
10-15-2002, 03:13 AM
Unfortunately, it can be hard to focus on your own training when you are paired with a sluggard who insists on sitting down to take a breather half the time, or who moves like someone scraped out their insides and filled their body with lead shot.

At least the "sluggard" came to practice.

I'm getting a little older, so I have to pace mayself more than 10 years ago. I work hard at the beginning of the practice, then I seek out beginners and "sluggards" when I want to slow the pace down. Everybody's working at their own level. Try to learn from everyone, learn patience, and learn to deal with negative emotions. That's also part of the training.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-15-2002, 03:41 AM
At least the "sluggard" came to practice.
I don't think this is necessarily a blessing. One 'sluggard' comes to mind from the past who showed up to class almost every night - apparently more to get out of the house or be part of the Aikido scene than to actually train. I'd rather see someone come less often, but show up with some earnest energy. Someone who shows up and wants to go very slow or take long rests when it is plain to see that they aren't physically pushing themselves is insulting their partners and wasting their time.
I'm getting a little older, so I have to pace mayself more than 10 years ago. I work hard at the beginning of the practice, then I seek out beginners and "sluggards" when I want to slow the pace down. Everybody's working at their own level. Try to learn from everyone, learn patience, and learn to deal with negative emotions. That's also part of the training.
...said the rich man to the poor man. Sounds like you are speaking from the position of having a large club with a diverse student body. I remember showing up to many a class where there was hardly such a smorgasbord from which to select - and the need for patience and dealing with 'negative' emotions began to make up the majority of training.

mike lee
10-15-2002, 03:53 AM
Kevin. No situation is ideal. If you don't like the situation you're in, you can either add to the negativity or do something about it. That's life. :do:

In short, we can become part of the problem or part of the solution.

I think the best solution for someone who really wants to train is to sell all of their worldly possessions and go to Hombu Dojo, Tokyo, Japan. Other options descend from that point.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-15-2002, 04:03 AM
Thanks. In the future, when I'm looking for smug sanctimony, and preposterously unrealistic suggestions, I'll know where to go.

BTW, aren't you the guy who was giving everyone crap about all their rationalizations and excuses for being overweight on another thread? If so, what's this: "I'm getting a little older, so I have to pace mayself more than 10 years ago." Sounds like a lame rationalization for laziness to me. Jack LaLane routinely performed feats like swimming a mile dragging a dozen boats with his teeth while in his 60's and 70's...

mike lee
10-15-2002, 04:14 AM
Thanks. In the future, when I'm looking for smug sanctimony, and preposterously unrealistic suggestions, I'll know where to go.

We all can help to cultivate ourselves and the environment we work in, including the dojo. Where ever you stand, there is the dojo.

I've built a number of dojo from scratch. Lame excuses never entered into the equation.

We all make our own bed.

Ali B
10-15-2002, 08:20 AM
I have to say that I am sometimes shocked by the language and aggression shown by aikidoka towards each other. I thought the reason for the post was to get the opinions of others but it seem when an answer comes which people don`t like, they slate it. (I´ve said this before but it really does shock me and puts me off posting.)

I always thought that fast isn´t necessarily better and whilst studying "invisible movement" I learned to move very slowly at first - which is actually quicker, if the person does not notice you moving.

Maybe these so called sluggards know more that you think...

Another point to consider...Aikido is not a sport and when we jump around we are not always practicing martial arts. Especially if the movement is synchronised.

- Now for my slating....

Mel Barker
10-15-2002, 08:37 AM
Slate?

giriasis
10-15-2002, 03:03 PM
Mel she meant... "slaying".

I agree with Alison. I'm sorry Kevin but my answer remains the same. You can learn a lot from that "slaggard". You can learn to pace yourself and to learn to control someone at a slower pace. You can learn to focus on your center, extension, fluidity. You can take advantage of this as an opportunity to learn to apply a technique on someone that you don't want to do too much harm to. Or you can just complain. The choice is yours. You can continue to wallow in your misery or you can turn a negative into a positive.

Also, have you considered that this "slaggard" is out of breath because you're going too hard for his ability? You can push people but you still need to take into consideration of their abilities. You can't force them to change. But you can blend with them.

If you want to train with folks at a higher pace and would be willing to drive about 5 hours South on I-95, you can come visit us at Florida Aikikai www.floridaaikikai.com . You're welcome to join us in training. Monday nights are the best. There are plenty of folks to train hard with. You can even pop in at the Winter Camp, although the mat usually is pretty crowded.

I'm sorry you can't train as hard as you want with this one "slaggard". What about the others in your dojo? Do you consider them all "slaggards"? If you do, what are you doing there? If you just want some hard training, I know of a couple of Traditional Wing Chun (William Cheung lineage) people in Jax who train pretty hard core. I could give you a reference.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-15-2002, 04:17 PM
Things are OK right now. There's only one real slo-mo where I am now, and I'm talking about someone who often can't even make it past 4 throws without sitting down for a rest. I don't mind if people are apparently trying and just don't have the fitness, although if their fitness doesn't improve over the course of months and years it is difficult for me to understand why they don't make some efforts to improve it on their own time.

There were 3 or 4 of them at my old dojo - although it was much bigger, sometimes classes weren't well attended. I can't help but think that y'all haven't really trained with such people before, or you'd have frustrated words too. These are people who generally are not heaving, gasping, and sweating - in fact usually far less than the rest of the class, because they never try that hard. When you train with them, almost every reaction communicates that they don't want to move, don't want to be thrown. They pull back when gently led from where their feet are planted, and pull back or stiffen up in resistance to going down. I have seen it bad enough that sensei has stopped what he was doing and walked across the mat to try to point it out to my training partner before, and on one occasion took one to a far corner and gave her a lecture for several minutes.

I'm not talking about people who lack super-human fitness, I'm talking about people who are expressing a closed, reluctant spirit. As far as simply knocking such a person over, I don't see this as some deep and fruitful challenge - it would actually be pretty easy if I was willing to switch to clotheslining, leg sweeps, or hard strikes. Being planted and reluctant to move isn't exactly an effective tactic.

I've looked into other MA options here and considered them. Unfortunately, although several seem interesting, the aesthetics and training experience in the ones I've checked out just didn't quite float my boat. I may yet migrate to one of them.

5 hours is a pretty grueling drive for me to make with any regularity, I'm looking into visiting Shindai in Orlando, which is more like 2.5.

K.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-15-2002, 04:58 PM
BTW, I am aware that complaining has become a principle hobby of mine. All I can say is, if you haven't lived in Jacksonville, don't knock it...

Imagine a giant, congested city of 2 million people with endless sprawling suburban strip malls and housing developments. Now take away the downtown and any cultural development that you would associate with a city any larger than about 50,000.... that's Jacksonville.

Deb Fisher
10-15-2002, 06:14 PM
That's almost anyplace these days, it's here for sure... but you know at least in Southern California we have In - N - Out.

Cheers,

Deb

Kevin Wilbanks
10-15-2002, 06:51 PM
I wouldn't say it's almost anyplace. I've been all over the US, and I'd say that this is the most culturally vacuous place I've ever been - especially for the size. I have talked to many people who have lived here or in nearby Gainesville who agree: there is something terribly wrong with Jacksonville. There are two segments of the population here: poor and military/ex-military. Any city in California has to be a whole different world.

To give you an idea, in terms of participation in Aikido, there was roughly ten times as much activity where I used to live, in a city of 1/10th the size: hence, cultural defecit factor = 1:100. I would say in terms of live music, the factor is more like 1:1,000,000. I got so desperate that I recently drove a total of 750 miles and spent over $300 just to attend one decent show (Neko Case) at a nightclub. Roughly 5% of the interesting films I hear about from fellow film geeks online actually hit theaters here. Blockbuster is the only rental option. There are no independent bookstores or music stores. There is no 'entertainment/nightclub district', and I have been unable to find any kind of bar that is not either a strip mall sports bar/pool hall or something along the lines of "Chili's". The last statistic I saw rated Jax as one of the ten worst cities in the US for violent crime. The city's sole claim to cultural fame is that Lynard Skynard came from here, and if you notice, many of their lyrics are about shootings, barfights, and anaesthetising oneself into oblivion, or some combination thereof. I'm just getting revved up here. Did I mention that complaining has become my principal hobby?

Mel Barker
10-15-2002, 07:56 PM
Hey Kevin, Thanks for helping me appreciate my city! Having driven through Jacksonville once, I had the same initial feeling about it.

Mel

http://aikido.nowright.com

opherdonchin
10-15-2002, 08:36 PM
Getting back onto the topic, I just want to chime in with Anne Marie and Mike (but don't tell them I agreed with them, they may not let me live it down). Some dojos are more energetic than others. Some AiKiDoka are more energetic than others. I remember being awestruck when I went to a Tai Chi gashgo once because of the number of disabled people and very old people who could participate and were made to feel welcome. Mind you, the style of Tai Chi that I practiced was quite 'martial' and involved a lot of pairing up and performing techniques that many of us would recognize in addition to the inevitable long kata. I thought that it was a shame that AiKiDo can feel so normative in what it expects from someone's body and their reflexes and their fitness. It has happened to me a number of times that the dojo where I practice has had students who had clear motor control issues. This was very challenging. Working with them was rarely fun and often simply unpleasant. Still, I treated it (and most of us treated it) as a learning experience that is part of our AiKiDo. I don't see why a sluggard is any different. AiKiDo is about taking what comes and working with what you have, I think.

Mind you, I do understand the frustration. That's easy to sympathize and identify with.

giriasis
10-15-2002, 09:23 PM
Opher, becareful, I just read you agreed with me. ;)

Anyhow...

Kevin, I've lived in Florida my whole life, born and raised in Melbourne, Florida. ooopps.. I mean Melboring. I know what a culturally barren city is like. I've been there, too. Sounds like you're dealing with some culture shock. Though in recent years, Melbourne's getting better with all the transplants from out of state. Jacksonville really is just a big redneck town. I hear you.

Well, now that you have described this student your talking about, I think I sympathize with you a little more. Have you tried to talk to her and just get to know her in general? Maybe, once you get to know her you can drop a hint or two that she needs to "get with the program" (especially if your sensei has said something to her). I'm also assuming that you are more senior to her.

I've worked out with one person who acted like that. We would be training in basics like tenkan exercise (irimi and tenchin). He would just act bored and tired. Like is was way too much effort for him. He wasn't really, he was perfectly in shape. He was completely unresponsive to anything said to him. It turned that he just wanted to learn "killer self-defense" techniques. He couldn't see the forest for the trees. He didn't see that the whole point to the basics is to develop a foundation to do "effective" techniques. He acted pretty badly. He showed no respect to his instructors. Needless to say he didn't last long. He stopped because he actually had to learn aikido and because he wasn't just taking a "self-defense" course. I thought he would understand because his father has been studing aikido for over 30 years in Japan. Guess not.

Yeah, it's frustrating, but there are ways to deal with it. Try telling her in a joking way that you would like to train rather than stand around and watch her fix her gi. Or use classic assertiveness training terms such as "When you do that I feel like you don't care to train in aikido with me." OR, Perhaps sit down after one technique and make her wait for you to get up. Mocking her isn't very "Aiki", but it might convey you're point. Or, Poke her and prod her with "come on" or "let's get going, I'm not even sweating." I do this in the children's class when the wee one's can't focus well. Treat her like a "wee one". ;) Know what I mean? Use a sense of humor with it all. If you done all this. Then just ignore it, and try to avoid her as much as possible and use her for a break.

So yes, I understand. The best thing to do is ignore these people. But, let it go and focus on your training. I really just think you're giving this too much energy than needed. As a result, this little person is affecting your training.

I'm glad you found a place to train in Jax, though. If you ever come down to Ft. Lauderdale for a trip or vacation, you are more than welcome to join us for a class or two. Visitors are very welcome at our dojo.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-15-2002, 09:36 PM
Well, I've been deliberately vague, but the 'she' is no longer part of the current training picture... about 1100 miles away. When I went back for a visit though, she was exactly the same, and unfortuantely, another woman who used to have fun, spunky energy seemed to have fallen into the same tar pit.

I don't really spend oodles of time focussing on this issue, although as someone who is nutty about strength and conditioning and currently preparing for a fitness career, it's bound to get my goat. I just thought this was the 'bitch about lazy training' thread.

I am in culture shock. I went from living in a place that got awards for being the "#1 most livable city in the US" to a place where the best you can say is "At least it's not Beruit." or something along those lines.

I'll keep your dojo in mind for a visit, although the drive isn't too inviting.

Jucas
10-16-2002, 02:13 AM
Kevin where are you from before taking the plunge into the armpit of the nation?

Well I have to attest, that there are some of the very people we are talking about in my new dojo here in Pasadena. You cannot learn anything from a "sluggard". For, in my mind, a "sluggard" is someone who spirit is not in there training. These people display this "sluggard" trait in different ways. Some do not try as hard as they could/can (physically), others do not cooperate with techniques and impede the learning process.

It all comes down to the fact that these people are disruptive, and sometimes even destructive, to the aikido environment. It is something that should not be promoted in the dojo.

-J

Ali B
10-17-2002, 09:08 AM
As a person who is always "up for it" I took a while to come to terms with the idea that people who are new/slower/less able than me have as much right to their time in the dojo.

If they are irritating us then we have something to learn as to why it bothers us so much. People who don´t "cooperate " or seem "lazy" should not be taking away from our aikido experience, they should be enhancing it.

Its great fun to practice at high speed. Launch our aikido buddies as far up the mat as we can muster and then launch them again but is this martial arts?

Surely the real challenge is in throwing someone who has resisted. For me I am happy knowing that they could not resist me because when I practice slowly I feel every slight movement. I cannot be resisted. I change vector, direction, speed and wham! Too late mate

More difficult but infinately more rewarding...

opherdonchin
10-17-2002, 01:42 PM
Yeah, I've been thinking about this again, Kevin, and I don't mean or want to sound sanctimonious (G*d knows I sympathize with what you describe), but it seems to me to be about people having a right to learn at their own pace and in their own way. I guess I tried to understand what would motivate someone who was so obviously not interested to take up AiKiDo anyway. I mean, they must be looking for something, right? In fact, the must be finding something there, or they wouldn't keep coming back.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-17-2002, 03:42 PM
Yes, but what if that something that they are finding is just a place to hang out and something to be involved with. If any one of hundreds of other fill-in-the-blank activities would do just as well, is it really legitimate to take up the training time of others who are serious about Aikido...

I wouldn't go so far as to say one can learn nothing from a sluggard in Aikido practice, but if it's bad enough that all you can come up with is some self-invented lessons about patience and dealing with difficult people, is this really a good use of valuable training time? I can get much more challenging lessons of this sort just driving around in rush hour traffic, going to the post office, or calling some national customer service help line.

opherdonchin
10-18-2002, 08:48 AM
if it's bad enough that all you can come up with is some self-invented lessons about patience and dealing with difficult people, is this really a good use of valuable training time?Actually, I think that I learn something very different from people like this (assuming I have the right idea of what you mean in mind). I think that for me (and for many others) one of the most challenging aspects of AiKiDo is it's built in assumption that 'real' ukes will commit. In my imaginings about martial situations and in my day to day life, I find that this isn't really true, and that my partners don't necessarily commit and may only be peripherally engaged in the interaction we are having. I've seen plenty of examples, though, of senseis who know how to invite their uke in, to draw them in, so that real engagement develops and, thus, AiKiDo becomes possible.

So, when I face people like what you describe I ask myself whether I can draw them in (without pulling) and encourage them forward (without pushing). Usually, I can't. For me, it shows up the weaknesses in my AiKiDo just as surely as when I'm facing a 220 lb 6'4" behemoth who is giving me enough energy to make me cringe and cower.

And, of course, if we got to choose all of our lessons in life, life would be much eaiser. The point here is that this is a lesson you didn't get to choose. I don't know about you, but my experience says that the lessons I've learned the most from have been the ones I haven't chosen or would have chosen to avoid.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-18-2002, 11:43 AM
I still think all these purported counter-opinions are veering off track. My complaint isn't about people who won't train at a breakneck pace, it isn't about people who lack exceptional fitness, and it isn't about people with weak or uncommitted attacks. The complaint is about people who show up to class but leave their heart at home, or wherever - it's about passion, engagemement, awareness, the quality of being alive and present. This might manifest itself in various aforespecified ways, or in others - but it seems obvious to me when I experience it. I don't see how making excuses for and encouraging limp and unenthusiastic attitudes in fellow students is of any benefit to anyone. I think if you aren't serious, but show up out of habit or the unspecified desire to be part of a group, you are wasting other trainees' time and should be made uncomfortable, not coddled in your lameness.

Deb Fisher
10-18-2002, 12:48 PM
Should should should.

I don't know, Kevin. First of all, I agree with you - flaccid, bored people are a scourge. As a teaching assistant in a large research institution, I have too much daily contact with students who have no idea why they are in school and shuffle from requirement to requirement with absolutely no sense of curiosity, drive, or even a basic understanding of what a huge resource they are turning up their noses at. It's infuriating.

But you know, aikido isn't college. For some reason that I don't agree with, college has become an unquestioned next step, a prerequisite to "getting a job" or whatever, which results in lots of flabby, sad-faced kids shuffling through at their parents insistence alone.

People almost never force other people to take aikido, though. It is a small, arcane thing. It won't even teach you to kick someone's ass. It's pleasures are complex and difficult sometimes to understand. It hurts sometimes, it involves a commitment to being completely unselfconscious...

... it's exactly what a generation of people who shuffle along from perceived commitment to perceived commitment need, and I think it demands too much to keep the truly lazy participant... there are too may other things lazy people can do, like go to the movies or watch TV or shop for things.

I think true sluggards, people who really have no heart in it, quit aikido, because there is absolutely no reason to stick with it. Maybe your sluggards are trying, but have fewer inner resources and a bigger commitment to the lazy world than you do. As you have so eloquently noted, the culture we live in has the potential to be a vast wasteland. What is the harm in being generous with people who are, by their very presence, making a real step away from that wasteland? Why not balance good conditions and time and space to uncover ones' own powers with gentle shaming for laziness?

Lazy, flaccid people around the world need resources like aikido. It makes you stronger. I don't know if I'm making any sense, this is something I have thought a lot about because of my teaching job. I think people are probably getting lazier and less curious, I think that's terrible, and I want to be part of the solution. Sometimes, in the name of creating a supportive environment, I think that involves 'coddling lameness'. Only then wil the discomfort you prescribe have a helpful context.

Whatever, I just think it's more complicated than you're letting on.

Blah blah,

Deb

SeiserL
10-18-2002, 04:39 PM
For me, it shows up the weaknesses in my AiKiDo just as surely as when I'm facing a 220 lb 6'4" behemoth who is giving me enough energy to make me cringe and cower.
Okay, whose been watching me work out again? :-)

I agree. Every Uke has different energy and can teach us different things. Especially about ourselves.

Until again,

Lynn

Unregistered
11-09-2002, 03:57 PM
You are indeed lucky to have trained in a disciplined way. I have had the situation where my partner wanted talk the techniques to death. By the time he was finished I didn't get a chance to do the technique myself! Rats! I had to confront the fellow and tell him respectfully and tactfully that I would rather do the techniques than talk about them. Every time he started to talk, I raised my hand for Sensei to come and just waited. And I quite trying to correct other folks--unless they ask me.